I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. (Galatians 1:6-7)
My pastor recently did a fantastic job of unpacking the importance of this short passage. Among other things, Paul was expressing utter amazement at how quickly and easily the Christians in Galatia had “abandoned ship.” The wording suggested that the challenges to their faith came shortly after conversion, and the people didn’t even muster a defense – they just buckled.
But what did they buckle under to? In short, a “different gospel.” The very important implication here is that there is one genuine gospel (salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone), and everything else is a different, foreign, incorrect gospel. And since only the genuine gospel has the power to save (1 Corinthians 1:18), any counterfeit is completely unable to – with eternally dire consequences.
For the Galatians, the “difference” to the gospel was the insistence of false teachers to “add” the Jewish law to the work of Christ on the cross. To those teachers, yes the cross was important, but it wasn’t enough – man had to follow the law, get circumcised, observe the Sabbath, etc. Please hear me on this for it’s critically important – the cross + ANYTHING = a different gospel – which is no gospel at all.
The false teachers were pushing morality on the new believers – and certainly Christians ought to be among the most moral citizens on Earth. But while morality may keep us out of jail, it won’t keep us out of hell. For if moral living alone were enough for salvation, Christ died for nothing.
What are you tempted to add to the finished work of Christ? Remember, the cross + anything you do is a different gospel – which is really no gospel at all! –Dave
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